I wrote something on Twitter a while back about being glad I was the parent of boys because it meant I didn't have to have anything to do with that Rainbow Loom bracelet-weaving crapola. People didn't waste any time correcting me: it seems the Loom is embraced by plenty of boys. Plus, but as one of my friends explained it to me, "Imagine an 8-year-old, awake but silent for hours at a time -- at only the cost of some rubber bands. This is the power of the Rainbow Loom." Touché.
I was wrong in assuming that loom-ing was mostly a girls-only activity, so let me rephrase: my own boys have zero interest in making rubber jewelry, and that's more than fine by me.
Not that I have any sort of gender bias against boys crafting things out of "Twistz Bandz," but because -- well, I don't want to have to help. I don't want to know what a triple single is, I don't want to watch Rainbow Loom how-to videos on YouTube, and I don't want the 925869123057 rubber bands that would inevitably end up clogging my vacuum cleaner.
When it comes to toys, my kids skew towards some pretty traditional gender stereotypes. Yes, I've seen the many articles advising me to do my level best to discourage their fondness for action figures, monster trucks, and objects that make obnoxious pew pew pew noises in favor of molding their behavior to reject "toxic" gender roles, but what can I say? Somewhere along the line, I must have failed as a parent, because I have two penis-bearing children who have a deep and abiding love for foam-based weaponry.
I'm definitely not saying that the things they're interested in are also, by and large, the things I'm interested in -- but I'm glad their various hobbies and interests don't extend to these particular "girl" toys (which I fully concede are not necessarily girl-specific, your mileage may vary, other disclaimers here, etcetera):
American Girl dolls. Because it is just sort of creepy for your kid to have a doll that looks like a mini-sized version of herself, THERE I SAID IT. Plus, holy fuck these things are expensive. And there are accessories! And clothing! And furniture.
Dolls, period. Seriously, dolls just give me the willies. Especially after they've been well-loved for a number of months and they're all gray and dingy and naked but their eyes never stop tracking you ever not even at night.
Disney princess stuff. I feel like however deep the marketing rabbit hole may seem for Ninjago-related merchandise, Disney's is, like, ETERNAL. You can spend every last dime of your income and never come close to acquiring all the various Sofia the First costumes, swimwear, tiaras, pajamas, enchanted amulet sets, shoes, water bottles, bedding, placemats, plashes, magical talking castle toys, CDs, books, sunglasses, and reusable totes that are available.
That Monster High business. As Deadspin's Drew Magary hilariously described this toy line,
It's like someone at Mattel held up a market research study and screamed, "Our Barbie dolls aren't causing as much body dysmorphia in children as they used to! MAKE ME A LINE OF BULIMIC VAMPIRE DOLLS OR YOU'RE ALL FUCKING FIRED." How are these toys even legal? It's like handing your child a Steve Madden ad.
Not only are these dolls, which I've already stated my dislike for, but they're all dressed in tiny miniskirts with thigh-high boots and they have chronic bitchface. I don't need some slutty doll lying around giving me the stinkeye, thank you very much.
Of course, I could write an entirely different article about how the most popular "boy toys" are equally annoying, and how Rainbow Loom rubber bands are probably way easier to vacuum than the discarded bricks from a LEGO X-Wing fighter. So in conclusion, children have terrible taste and they frequently end up falling in love with awful overpriced gender-stereotypical doodads and that's the way it's always been and likely always will be, amen and pass the Tylenol.
What are your least favorite kids' toy obsessions (girl, boy, whatever)?
Image via blake/Flickr